The UK Housing Retrofit Challenge


80% of the buildings that will exist in 2050 already exist. To meet the government’s legal Zero Carbon targets by 2050 we need to decarbonise 27 million existing domestic properties in the next 27 years.

This is the largest challenge ever faced by the education and construction sectors in the UK. This immediate challenge to retrofit and decarbonise the housing stock is already proving to be a challenge with the initial Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 1 failing to deliver the quantity or quality* (*yet to be proven) of retrofits. With the imminent award of £800 million under wave 2, plus the available funds under ECO 4 and ECO+ funding – there are potentially more funds available than can be currently spent on retrofitting.

Whilst funding is a key consideration, availability of skilled labour, indeed availability of labour to train to undertake the volume of work is THE most significant constraining factor in meeting the retrofit challenge. Currently the UK about market requires over 650k people engaged in the delivery of Net Zero by 2030. On average each retrofit takes over 45 labour days and over £35k (indeed recent evidence suggests significantly more).

Delivering consistently high-quality retrofits that meet the individual needs of the property, the property owner and the resident is a complex process requiring a “whole house approach” that also considers the changing demands of climate change and the behaviour of the residents.

The objective to decarbonise 27 million properties in the next 27 years is a significant multifaceted challenge that requires developing a ‘whole system’ approach to better understand the problems associated with this challenge AND be able to create a sustainable and scalable strategy that will deliver the desired outcomes for people and planet.

Decarbonisation at scale provides an enormous opportunity to create sustainable careers. The demand for skilled labour is already outstripping the supply. Through using innovative processes to improve efficiency in the way properties are retrofitted combined with high-quality skill development, it is possible to create socially owned entities that can undertake retrofitting works. In this way it is possible to deliver significant lasting social impact – ‘levelling up’, as an intended consequence of decarbonisation.

Netzero has a wide range of expertise to help property owners develop strategic options that will improve decision-making. Our innovative technology enables an evidence-based approach to decarbonising properties. This is one of the ways we help you reduce the risks associated with the decarbonisation challenge.

We can give you the data to drive decarbonisation, and help you meet your targets – to find out more, simply get in touch

Blog Posts

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Supporting the SMF’s call for green installation careers Read More
Upgrading skills to upgrade properties Read More

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